Cereals was introduced as one of our priority categories in 2016, replacing shea. This is due to the volume of cereals we purchase, and its importance both to our consumers and to our product portfolio. Cereals such as wheat, corn and rice are used in many of our foods and beverages, such as our breakfast cereals and pet food.
How we source cereals
We source cereals from many countries around the world. Our aim is to ensure that the cereals are sourced from suppliers where the operations, as well as the farms that supply them, comply with local laws and regulations and our Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Guideline.
The focus for 2016 and 2017 is on corn and wheat globally.
Cereals supply chain challenges and solutions
With cereals being a new addition to our list of priority ingredients in 2016, it is too early to say what the key challenges in the supply chain are. However, we have already begun carrying out initial assessments and findings have identified biodiversity, soil health and water as key challenges. We will use this information to inform the development of action plans and activities to address these issues.
How Nestlé Purina is supporting ecosystem improvements
In 2016, Nestlé Purina in the USA supported an ecosystem improvement project related to its agricultural supply chain – specifically on land where a percentage of its corn is sourced. Farmers in the USA work hard on their crop land to reduce nutrient application, install buffer strips along waterways to prevent runoff, and practise conservation tillage to keep topsoil and nutrients on the farm where they are needed. Even so, some amount still runs into the waterways and rivers where it can cause problems downstream – especially when it flows down the Mississippi River and reaches the Gulf of Mexico, where it contributes to the oxygen-depleted Dead Zone. The Wabash River Basin contributes 1% of the water volume to the Mississippi River, but 11% of the nutrients.
The project installed wetlands and woodlands at key junctures of the Wabash to slow the water flow and allow the sediment and nutrients to settle, allowing cleaner water to flow downstream. The Nature Conservancy, a conservation organisation, designed the project and area farmers contributed farmland, while Nestlé Purina provided the funding and helped to gain more attention for the effort to attract additional partners. The project is expected to greatly reduce soil sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen from the river each year while improving water quality, carbon sequestration in the new woodlands, biodiversity in the wetlands, and providing other ecosystem services.
A video shows the work we are doing with The Nature Conservancy and farmers on this project, and you can read more here.
How we assess suppliers
As cereals is a new addition to our list of priority ingredients, the process of assessing our suppliers is in its early stages. We began carrying out initial assessments in 2016 and early results will be obtained and published in 2017. In the United States, our Purina team is working on this process with The Nature Conservancy; outside the United States, our partner is Control Union, a global network of inspection operations and dedicated laboratories.
Cereal supply chain traceability results
||3 625 000 tonnes
|Percentage of volume traceable
||12% (2016 target: 15%)
|Percentage of volume Responsibly Sourced
||7% (2016 target: 10%)
Our progress to date
We have begun carrying out initial supply chain assessments and building up a picture of our cereals supply chain, the stakeholders involved and issues to be addressed. This will give us a solid platform on which to build in the coming years as cereals becomes established as a priority ingredient.
In 2017 we will begin to get the first results of initial assessments in our cereals supply chain. This information will enable us to identify suitable partners with whom to develop action plans and activities to address any issues identified. We anticipate starting to develop and roll out such plans in 2017.